What You Don't Know President Trump

Dear President Trump,

No matter how much we prepared our three older children for an unfavored election outcome, they weren't ready.  There were so many strong emotions in our home the morning after Election Day.  Some were crying.  Others were screaming.  None of them could accept the results.

What you don't know President Trump is over the course of your election process, you touched a nerve with each of my children.  Things were said that they couldn't forget.

Letters to President Donald Trump written by three children and their mother about fears and hopes for the future.
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You don't know this but they watched the news every night from the beginning of the primary election process to Election Day and heard every word you said.

You don't know this but they stayed up each night there was a debate, so they could listen and determine for themselves which candidate they liked best.

You don't know this, but they also stayed up until the wee hours of the morning on Election Day, when the numbers were coming in, because they wanted to know who the next President of the United States would be.   Unfortunately their eyes could not stay open long enough to find out.

Letters to the President

The morning after Election Day, I asked my children if they would like to write you a letter, in an effort to help them work through strong emotions.  They all agreed that it would be beneficial.  And so they wrote.  I've been holding on to these letters since that day in November, wondering if I should share them with you or not.

But today, I can't seem to shake this fear that fills my entire body and soul.  Tears won't stop flowing.  The letters my children wrote to you keep coming to my mind.

Tonight at dinner, I asked the children if it was okay if I shared them with the world, in hopes that you may read them too.  Without hesitation, they all said yes.  They wanted you to know how they felt the day after the election, and how they continue to feel.

I had to warn them that some people may not like their letters.  There may be some individuals who write mean things on Mommy's blog, facebook, Twitter or other social media accounts, because they don't agree.  My daughter spoke up and repeated words I have said to her many times,

"Just because they say them, doesn't mean we have to believe them or that they're true."

And so, today, I share with you three separate letters from three of my children.

From Bulldozer

Dear President Trump,

I feel mad that you will be our President.  You've made some bad choices.  I hope you make good choices so I can like you.

Sincerely,
Bulldozer (Age 8)

What you don't know about Bulldozer is that he has autism and ADHD.  My husband and I homeschool him because public education was not the right fit and at times simply too dangerous for his health.  Bulldozer suffers from over 30 food allergies.  He has environmental allergies as well.  A sticker from the grocery store can cause him to go into anaphylactic shock, as he also has a life threatening allergy to adhesives.

President Trump, you don't know how hard he tried to like you.  With every fiber of his being he tried to find the positive.  He'd listen to every speech he could, looking for ways to support you.  And even now, he is still hoping to find a way to like you.  Please help him.  He wants to look up to you.

From Princess

Dear President Trump,

I feel upset that you called women disgusting animals.  I am also mad that you are going to be our President.  I don't like you.

I hope that you will be a good President.  I hope that you will stop calling women disgusting animals.  Women are human not animals.

Sincerely,
Princess (Age 7)

What you don't know about Princess is that she was a foster child in our home, whom we adopted.  She came to us neglected and abused, so much that her brain is permanently damaged and she is unable to love others like most people can.  It's called Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). She also suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and an anxiety disorder as a result of the trauma she experienced before coming to us.  We homeschool her to help her feel safe.

You don't know this, but the person that neglected her the most was a woman.  Princess knows how cruel the world can be and if anyone has the right to speak poorly of women, it's her.  But instead, she works day in and day out to heal from wounds that were not her fault and to forgive those who have hurt her.  She works to trust people, especially women, so she can feel good about herself.

President Trump, she still has the desire to hope that you can help her too.  Please help Princess understand how amazing she is and that she is beautiful on the inside and out.

From Dinomite

Dear President Trump,

I am not happy that you made fun of a person with disabilities.  I have a disability called autism.  When you make fun of people with disabilities I feel sad.  I don't feel special anymore.

I hope you don't make fun of people anymore so I can feel special again.  I'm fine the way I am.

Sincerely,
Dinomite (Age 9)

What you don't know President Trump is that Dinomite is an amazing boy.  He is bright and kind.  Besides autism, Dinomite struggles with ADHD and an anxiety disorder.  We homeschool him, as public school was not the right fit, due to social pressures and sensory issues.

You don't know how hard Dinomite tries to be the best he can possibly be.  The effort he puts into overcoming his challenges is amazing.  He has such a sincere desire to be good.  Please help him stay that way.

You have broken Dinomite's heart.  He desperately wants to support and respect the President of the United States. He is so proud of being an American.  Please help him feel special again.

More You Don't Know

You don't know that we have a fourth child, whose nickname is Sunshine, who we adopted through foster care as well.  Through no fault of her own, she suffers from Reactive Attachment Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  She was born with Mild Cranial Facial Microsomia and suffers a vision impairment because of it.  Sunshine has also been diagnosed with a mood disorder and autism.

You don't know this, but because of behaviors related to Sunshine's disabilities, my husband had to quit his job.  He is at home with me full-time to make sure that everyone stays safe and that all of our children are taken care of.

Our children, yours and mine, are our country's future.  Circumstances in which we raise our children are not the same, but they all deserve an equal chance at success.

You don't know the financial struggles we've had.

You don't know how much we've fought for what's best for our children.

You don't know how hard we've worked to provide them with what they need.

You don't know the sacrifices we have made to provide our children with the very best opportunities and chances for success, so that when they grow up, they won't be reliant on others.

I used to feel so confident and full of hope, because of the choices we had made, but now...

You don't know the fear that fills my body and soul, as I worry that will all be taken away.

You don't know the nightmares I've had and the sleepless night I've spent awake worrying about losing what we have.

Please help my children.  Give them hope and confidence that you will be there for them.

You don't know how much we all need that right now.

Because what you don't know President Trump, is that we want to support you.

We want to trust that you will take care of our children.

We want to believe that we will all be okay.

We pray that you will be able to give us that.

This is what we need.

Sincerely,
A Concerned Mother of Four Special Needs Children

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts below.
Homeschooling My Autistic Child

Autism Support and Resources

Day to Day Life Parenting a Child with Reactive Attachment Disorder

How to Recognize Signs of a Mood Disorder in Young Children

This post is part of the Parenting Children with Special Needs Series. 
Parenting Children with Special Needs Series


Letters to President Donald Trump written by three children and their mother about their fears and hopes for the future.

Snowman Activities for Preschoolers with Free Printables

Sunshine loves to play in the snow.  One of her favorite outdoor winter activities is building a snowman.  It only seemed fitting to create snowman activities for her.  All activities are designed for preschoolers and come with free printables.  Sunshine is loving them!
Snowman learning activities for preschoolers with free printables.
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Here's what's on our Montessori shelves!

Language

S is for Snowman
S is for snowman learning activity and free printable.
Sunshine continues to struggle learning her letters and sounds.  After speaking to her doctor we believe that she may have some learning disabilities.  These combined with her vision impairment are proving to be a challenge in the classroom.  We're excited to help her out in as many ways as we can so she can be successful.

In this activity, Sunshine will glue cotton balls onto the dots provided to create the letter "s" that will stand out from the page.

Source:  I created the printable for this activity as part of the Snowman Activities Printable Pack 1.  For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of the post.

Snowman Nomenclature Cards
Snowman nomenclature cards (free printable)
Sunshine enjoys the process of matching three-part cards.  In this activity she will match up parts of a snowman.  I just love the images in this activity.

Source:  I created the printable for this activity as part of my Snowman Activities Printable Pack 1.  For your free copy, click on the link at the bottom of this post.

Math

Snowman Shapes
Snowman shapes match up (free printable)
Sunshine is taking an interest in shapes right now.  She was so exited to show me a pentagon this week and tell me how many sides it has.  When I saw this activity, I couldn't resist adding it to her shelves.  Sunshine will be so excited to learn some new shapes and review old ones.

Source:  The free printable for this activity can be found at Totschooling.

Building a Snowman Sequence
Building a snowman sequence activity with free printable
Sunshine will sequence the cards provided and place the number under each step in order.  I love the cards used for this activity because after the first few, Sunshine will really need to pay attention to details.  It's not as simple as it looks.

Source:  The free printable for this activity can be found on TpT by Randi.

Science

Snowman Baking Soda Science Experiment
Snowman baking soda science experiment
Picture Courtesy of Little Binds for Little Hands
Sunshine is so excited about this activity.  It's definitely something new for her to try.  We will be making the snowmen together and then carrying out the experiment during learning time.  I love that this is not only a science experiment but also a great way for her to practice fine motor skills.

Source:  Instructions and ingredients for this activity can be found at Little Bins for Little Hands.

Practical Life

Snowman Water Transfer
Snowman water transfer
Sunshine will practice her pouring skills, pouring water into each of the snowmen.  Once finished she can use the dropper to transfer the water back into the glass.

Snowman Cutting Activity
Snowman cutting activity with free printable
Sunshine has been begging for a new cutting activity, even though she really struggles to develop the skill.  I wasn't going to disappoint her!  In this activity, Sunshine will cut on the lines between each snowman using the scissors provided.

Source:  I created the printable for this activity as part of my Snowman Activities Printable Pack 1.  For your free copy, click on the link provided at the bottom of the post.

Sensorial

Metal Inset Shaving Cream Activity
Metal Inset shaving cream activity for preschoolers
Sunshine is struggling with writing skills, so we've decided to back up and start from the very beginning of the Montessori writing curriculum, using the metal insets.  However, we're not using them with a pencil yet.  Instead we will spray shaving cream on the cookie sheet provided. Sunshine will then place the metal inset on top of the shaving cream and trace the shape using her finger.

We've decided to use the circle shaped metal inset, so she can create her own snowman in the shaving cream.

Snowman Invitation to Play
Snowman invitation to play
We were hoping to have snow this week to build a snowman outside, but it's supposed to be warm all week. So instead we created a Snowman Invitation to Play.  Sunshine can create as many snowmen as she'd like using the materials provided.  Materials include:

Snowman Sensory Bin

Snowman sensory bin
I am so pleased with this sensory bin.  It may be my favorite yet.  Sunshine is enjoying it as well.  What's more fun than a snowman themed sensory bin, especially when it's made with items you have on hand at home?  The sensory bin includes:
We are so excited for such a fun time with our snowman activities in the classroom.  Sunshine is so happy when she sees scissors, play dough and a sensory bin on her shelves.

If you're interested in downloading your free copy of snowman themed printables, click the link below.


If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy the posts below.
Hockey learning activities for tots and preschoolers with free printables

Polar bear learning activities for tots and preschoolers with free printables

If you'd like to view all of our winter themed learning activities and free printables, click on the link below.
Winter learning activities and free printables for kids.

This post is part of the 12 Months of Montessori Series. For more fabulous Montessori winter themed posts, check out the links below!
Montessori Inspired Antarctica Shelf  | The Pinay Homeschooler
Indoor Snowball Fight | Grace and Green Pastures
Winter Books for Preschoolers | Christian Montessori Network
Winter Yoga for Kids | Sugar, Spice & Glitter
Hands on arctic themed activities| Welcome to Mommyhood

Snowman learning activites for preschoolers with free printables.

Gift Ideas for 10 Year Old Boys

It is so hard to believe that my first baby boy is turning 10 years old.  I can not believe how fast time has flown.  He's definitely not a little boy anymore.  His interests have changed so much, especially over the last year.  In honor of his birthday Dinomite put together these Gift Ideas for 10 Year Old Boys.  If you're looking for that perfect gift for the 10 year old boy in your life, one of these is sure to fit the bill.

Gift ideas for 10 year old boys.
Dinomite has a few interests right now.  A couple he's had since he was a little boy.  The others he's developed a passion for over the last year or two.  It is so fun to watch him grow.  His gift ideas are sorted into groups for easy viewing.  Happy shopping!

Harry Potter gift ideas for 10 year old boys.

Book:  Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them:  The Original Screenplay (Purchased)

Harry Potter Hogwarts Bookmarks

Video Game:  LEGO Harry Potter:  Years 5-7-Nintendo 3DS (Purchased)

Harry Potter Wands Print Black with white ink 18''x24''

Movie:  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter Magical Creatures Coloring Book

Lord of the Rings gift ideas for 10 year old boys.

Video Game: Lord of the Rings Conquest-Nintendo DS

Video Game:  Lord of the Rings Aragorn's Quest-Nintendo DS

The Lord of the Rings Movie Trilogy Coloring Book

CD:  The Lord of the Rings:  The Two Towers (Purchased)

CD:  The Lord of the Rings:  The Return of the King

Lord of the Rings Eye of Sauron Snow Globe

Animal book gift ideas for 10 year old boys.

Sharks and Other Deadly Ocean Creatures Visual Encyclopedia

Wildlife of the World

Sharks A Firefly Guide

Dinosaur!

Super Nature Encyclopedia

Super Bug Encyclopedia

Super hero gift ideas for 10 year old boys.

LEGO Super Heroes:  The Hulk Buster Smash 76031

LEGO DC Comic Super Heroes Batman:  Deliverance from the Ra's al Gul 76056

Video Game:  Captain America-Super Soldier Nintendo DS

Video Game:  Iron Man Nintendo DS

Video Game:  Thor God of Thunder Nintendo DS

Book:  LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes Character Encyclopedia

LEGO Star Wars gift ideas for 10 year old boys.

LEGO Star Wars AT-ST Walker 75153

LEGO Star Wars Clone Commander Cody 75108

LEGO Star Wars Imperial Death Trooper 75121

LEGO Star Wars Sergeant Jyn Urso 75119

LEGO Star Wars K-2SO 75120 (Purchased)

LEGO Star Wars Homing Spider Droid 75142

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy:
Non toy gift ideas for 9 year old boys.

Gift ideas for 8 (and 9) year old boys.

Must Have Fidget Toys

We are huge fans of fidget toys to help keep our special needs kiddos regulated when they're craving sensory input.  Our fidget toys are used on the go, in the classroom, and wherever else they're needed at home.

There are hundreds of fidget toys out there.  It can be so hard to find good ones that work.  We've tried so many.  These are our favorites and the ones we always go back to.  Check out our must have fidget toys!

Must have fidget toys!
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Fidget toys can be used for children who have:

  • ADHD
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Reactive Attachment Disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • PTSD
  • So much more!  
They're small and easily portable.  The fidgets are made for wear and tear and to meet a child's sensory needs.  I can't recommend them enough!

Must Have Fidget Toys

Spaghetti Ball-This is Bulldozer's favorite fidget.  He loves to put it on his head and other parts of his body.  It provides great visual stimuli and also has a fun tactile component.

Hyperflex Stretchy String-This is the fidget that the kiddos fight over the most, so much that we now have four, one for each of them.  There's just something about being able to stretch these as far as you can that's so pleasurable. They're also fun to rub in your hands and squeeze.  One would think they would break, but none have yet in all the years we've owned them.

Tangle Relax Therapy-Dinomite loves this fidget because he can take it apart, put it together, squeeze it, and rub it whenever he needs to.  It keeps his hands busy when he's trying to remain still and calm.

Tangle Jr. Fuzzies-Bulldozer enjoys the soft touch of this fidget as well as the colors.  He loves to take it all apart and put it back together creating color patterns.

Wood Fidget Puzzle-Dinomite can't get enough of this fidget.  It's quite simple, but so much fun to manipulate into different shapes.  He has used it for years.

Liquid Motion Bubbler-Our family can not live without this fidget.  Bulldozer is obsessed with visual stimuli. When we're needing to attend an event where he's required to sit still and quiet for any period of time, this comes with us.  He also uses it at home to calm himself when he's upset.

Shark Tooth Chewie Necklace-Dinomite loves this chewie necklace.  Out of all the ones he's had, he enjoys this one the best.  The necklace itself is sturdy and comfortable.  And for a kid who loves sharks, you can't go wrong.

Glitter Wand-Sunshine loves her glitter wand.  She has so much fun playing the "I Spy" game with it.  Bulldozer enjoys it too!

Pin Art Board-Bulldozer loves the feel of pressing his hand (and sometimes) face into the pin art board. He finds it so soothing and never tires of it.

Automoblox Minis-These cars are the best!  The boys have so much fun with them.  They're quiet and provide great tactile stimuli and fine motor practice.  Plus they're small enough to bring anywhere you want to go.

Stress Ball-I don't know where Dinomite would be without his stress ball.  He uses it so often.  It has definitely saved us a lot of pencils from breaking into pieces when he's doing school work.

Sound blocking headphones-Every child in the house has their own set of sound blocking headphones. Whether they're used to block out noise during learning time or Sunshine's meltdowns, they are so helpful.  We also use them on car trips to help with noise in close quarters.

I seriously don't know what we would have done without these fidgets over the years.  They have been lifesavers for our family.

If you're interested in more sensory and special needs related posts, be sure visit the links below!
Sensory resources for children who need to chew.

Sensory oriented anxiety kits for children

Autism supports and resources

Reactive Attachment Disorder support and resources

Book:  The ABCs of Montessori and Special Needs

Must have fidget toys for children.

Montessori Three Period Lesson Visual Prompts (Free Printable)

The Montessori three period lesson approach to teaching kiddos is well known to those who use the Montessori Method.  We have found it to be extremely beneficial for our kiddos with special needs, especially when using the visual prompts below.
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The way in which a lesson is taught using Montessori principles has many benefits for those with special needs.
  • Lessons are presented using a multi-sensory approach.
  • Minimal verbal communication is encouraged.
  • Instruction is given in small groups or one-to-one setting.

The lessons are well received for the most part in our homeschooling environment.  However, we have encountered a few challenges along the way.  Princess and Sunshine do not do well with instruction from adults in general due to Reactive Attachment Disorder.  So functioning and participating appropriately is a challenge.

Bulldozer and Sunshine struggle with focus during a lesson and often become distracted.  Their thoughts often wander.  At times this results in them not focusing on the initial presentation.

Then there's the fact that our kiddos have a hard time waiting their turn to use materials. They can become extremely impatient while I am demonstrating how to complete work because they just want to dive in.  When it is their turn, they're not quite sure what to do because what I ask varies between having them show me how to complete the task, or asking them questions.

All of these challenges led me to create the Montessori Three Period Lesson Visual Prompts.  These cards are used as visual reminders for the kiddos as I'm presenting lessons. 

Montessori Three Period Lesson Visual Prompts

1.  THIS IS...

The first card corresponds to the first period of the lesson.  It is a picture of a finger pointing to the teacher.  This is a visual reminder to the child that it's the teacher's turn to present the material.  Cards that point both ways are included in the printable for when teachers need to sit on the left and right sides of students, depending on whether the child is left- or right-hand dominant.

2. SHOW ME...

The second card corresponds with the second period of the lesson.  It is a picture of a finger pointing towards the child.  This is a visual reminder to the child that it's her turn to complete the work.  She may now touch and use materials appropriately.

3.  WHAT IS...

The third card corresponds with the third period of the lesson where the teacher asks the child questions.  It is a picture of a person thinking, surrounded by question marks. This is a visual reminder to the child that the teacher is going to ask a question and she will then answer.  It reminds the child to listen well, so she can pick out key question words, and answer correctly.

Since implementing these visual prompts, the kiddos' ability to function and make it through lessons has improved significantly.  I'm not being interrupted. The kiddos know to keep their hands off materials, until I'm finished.  Best of all they're better prepared for the third part of the lesson which includes questions.

This printable is a subscribers only freebie in conjunction with the release of my new book The ABCs of Montessori and Special Needs.  You can now purchase this book in paperback and ebook forms by visiting my shop today!

If you'd like to receive your free copy of the Montessori Three Period Lesson Visual Prompts, subscribe to my newsletter today!  If you are already a subscriber, the link to the printable will be included in all future newsletters.

Trillium Montessori Homeschool Summit

Did you know there is going to be a Trillium Montessori Homeschool Summit designed specifically for homeschooling families and teachers who want to learn more about using the Montessori Method?  The best part about the conference is that you can attend while remaining at home in your pjs if desired.
Trillium Montessori Homeschool Summit
This post contains affiliate links.

The Trillium Montessori Homeschool Summit is being held January 9-12, 2017.  An all access pass allows you to attend all fourteen sessions.  If you're worried you'll be unable to watch them as they happen, don't!  Once you purchase your ticket, you have access to all sessions of the conference for a year.  This opportunity is just that great!

If you'd prefer attending only sessions that are applicable to your school environment, you can choose one of three tracks:

  • Primary Level Track
  • Elementary Level Track
  • Specials Track
This conference really does include everything you could possibly want!

You may wonder why I'm so excited about this.  It is a rare thing for me to promote conferences on the blog.  The truth is, I'm one of the presenters!  I would love for you to join me for The ABCs of Montessori and Special Needs a presentation based on my new book.
Montessori and Special Needs
You can steal a sneak peak of my 50 minute presentation below.



And if that's not enough incentive to attend, all those who purchase all access passes to the conference receive:

  • Amazing bonus freebies from presenters and exhibitors worth over $100
  • A chance to participate in some amazing giveaways
  • Access to even more presentations in a special group dedicated to the conference, including a Facebook Live session from yours truly and other presenters and exhibitors.
This is such an amazing opportunity, and one that shouldn't be missed.


If you'd like more information about the Trillium Montessori Homeshool Summit, including a list of presenters and common questions answered, click HERE.  I hope to see you there!

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